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Brian Cotsen - Property Coach

Abandoned Bathroom December/ January


Abandoned Bathroom December/ January

This month Brian comes to the rescue of a dated bathroom that has very little storage or charm.

Problem 1

Whimsy pink floral tiles, curly cork floor with the dated rose coloured bath suit…this was beyond retro.

Problem 2

Stark cold feel to the room. Although the windows let in lots of light the feel was unwelcoming.

Problem 3

No storage space. It’s nice to have some attractive oils and soaps on display, but not all of your personal care and cleaning items.

Problem 4

All the hard surfaces – this room was not a space you wanted to relax and unwind in.

Problem 5

Mismatched mirrors, lights and cupboards gives this room a haphazard, uncoordinated feel to it.

Naoko has lived in her three bedroom detached North London home for 10 years. She has been working her way through the house renovating and redecorating room by room. However the bathroom has always been the room that she has put off doing…and no wonder.

‘I just knew it was going to be an awful job, I couldn’t face up to it. I hate the room and quickly rush in and rush out every time!’

From the very dated rose coloured bath suit, the curly cork flooring and the whimsy old-fashioned pink and brown wall tiles, this room was a time warp decorating nightmare. Besides the dreadful décor the bathroom has very little storage space.

‘What I’d love is a bathroom like some of the ones in the hotels I’ve stayed in. Somewhere I can relax and indulge myself’

On the plus side the room is bright, it has two windows. It is also a fairly decent size. The ceiling and main light were fine.

I want to inject some ‘Hotel Chic’ into this run down (and doesn’t it make you want to run) room. Far from being an oasis of calm and relaxation it is enough to set anyone’s nerves jangling. My challenge was to create a room that would fulfil all the practical needs from a bathroom, a place to get ready, space for all the essential personal products and cleaning items as well as somewhere for the more luxurious pampering items.

Naoko had already bought a new shower screen and bath taps which I will incorporate into the scheme.

First things first, with this room it was tough love. I normally like to reuse where I can, but in this case we needed to start from scratch. The pink tiles, dated bath suit and curly cork floor had to go. I chose a simple white bath suit, the ‘Thyme’, from Focus. This has a clever under bath storage solution that makes use of wasted space under your bath.

Choosing classic white means your suite will never go out of fashion, change the feel and update by using different colour towels and accessories.

To bring a hint of hotel chic into this room I chose a warm limestone tile from H R Johnson’s. This gave a lovely honey hue to the walls with subtle variations in colour. Completely tiled walls can look a little boring so we broke up the space using a boarder tile of contrasting colours. Laying the oblong tiles in brick fashion also gave the walls more interest and made the room feel wider.

Flooring is very important in any bathroom. It needs to be water tight, comfortable and attractive. Subtly mottled effect vinyl flooring from Rhino floors was the answer. The odd splashes and sprinkling of talk don’t spoil the look and the floor feels soft under foot.

The windows, above basin mirror, light and bathroom cabinet were all at different heights and looked disjointed and uncoordinated. Painting out the dark wood window surrounds helped to increase the feeling of light and

reduce the mismatch in heights. The light fitting was positioned in line with the smaller window and the mirror hung centrally over the basin.

Using the small window as a niche we displayed a lovely fern. This helped give the room balance and depth.

Privacy in a bathroom is really important so we chose a simple Venetian blind from ‘Ruflette’ with a special privacy design that allows the fins to close up tightly when required.

Using lovely coordinating towels and accessories is a really great way to bring the bathroom to life. Spa’s can have very minimal finishes, so I used the colours in the boarder tiles, raspberry red and slate grey to give a rich warm cosy feel to this bathroom.

The simple tiled ledge that was created at the end of the bath is the perfect place to display your pampering products such as lovely soaps and oils, sponges and facemasks and some fragrant scented candles. Fresh flowers are lovely in a bathroom, but they are also expensive. There are lots of really pretty and realistic fake flowers in shops and you can change the feel with the season.

How the bathroom works for Naoko.

‘Now I have my own personal spa I wish I hadn’t left doing the bathroom for so long. The only problem is that I am now late leaving the house in the morning because I love being in here so much.’

Good Ideas:

  • Toilet rolls are a bathroom essential but not particularly attractive. Why not combine them with something more interesting like a basket of your favourite magazines?
  • Use spare space at the end of a bath for extra storage. Buy matching bath panels and handles to blend in with the bathroom fittings.
  • Don’t forget a stool or storage unit. Somewhere to pop dirty laundry and perch while your nail varnish dries.
  • Don’t waste time and money removing old tiles. If the current tiles are sound tile over them.
  • Keep your costs down by keeping the basic layout the same. Moving the position of baths and toilets is expensive.
  • Classis white never goes out of fashion. Change the feel of your bathroom with the towels and accessories.
  • To keep costs down but still have a luxury feel to your bath room, use a simple inexpensive main wall tile and add a smart boarder tile to contrast the look.
  • Vinyl is softer and warmer than tiles and costs a fraction of the price to buy and lay.

  • Create the spa feel with a relaxing bath pillow, scented candles and some pretty bottles of bathoils and soaps.
  • A bath pillow is a luxury spa essential, some have infusions of herb oils to really help you relax and unwind.
  • Use a large floor bowl to keep sponges, scrubs and loofas easily to hand.

What it cost.




Thyme Bath Suit

Focus DIY


Dollomite wall tiles

HR Johnsons

Awaiting price

Leather mosaic boarder

HR Johnsons

Awaiting price

Napoli vinyl flooring

Rhino floor

£20.00 per Sq meter

Bath towels x 2



Hand Towels x 4



Bath Mat x 1



‘Spiritta’ blind x 1



Curve bathroom wall light x 1

John Lewis


Raspberry basket x 1

M & S


Glass floor bowl x 1

M & S


Alabasta bowl x 1



Bath slippers x 1

John Lewis


Molgar stool x 1



Smoked glass bottle vase x 1



Pillar candle holder x 1

John Lewis


Raspberry and chocolate candles x 1



Bathroom peddle bin x 1



Polished edge glass mirror x 1

Islington Glass


Plumbing and tiling


Total cost of the makeover

£2866.10 plus cost of tiles




home staging & affordable interior design

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